我珍愛的綠色橡膠雨靴

My Favourite Green Rubber Boots
By ALAN DURHAM / 摘自FARN & RANCH MAGAZINE

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Little boys aged 5 are playing on the small bridge in the forest. They are enjoying beautiful nature and blowing bubbles – Getty Images

雨靴內裏光滑寬敞,腳趾可以自由扭動⋯⋯

小時候對我來說,沒有什麼東西能像綠色橡膠雨靴那樣意味着自由。每逢冬天就代表弟弟和我將收到新雨靴。有時候雨靴是耶誕禮物,然而我們這兩個男孩子正是視弄髒自己為己任的年齡,而腳長的速度也好似夜夜泡在了化肥裏,所以更多時候雨靴只是必需品。

Nothing screamed freedom for me as a kid like green rubber boots. Each winter meant new boots for my little brother and me.

有時我們會和父母一起到商店,直接從貨架上挑選。雨靴通常昂然挺立於金屬貨架上,略微前傾,散發軍人欠身待發的氣息。兩隻雨靴常會用一段白色的細繩或塑膠繩綁在一塊兒。

Sometimes they were Christmas presents, but more often they were simply necessities for two boys who took their job of getting dirty very seriously and whose feet grew like they were steeped in fertilizer each night.

依款式不同,有些雨靴有長長的黃色鞋帶一路往上繫在正面,頂部再環一圈黃色橡膠,格外醒目。有時我們拿到的是普通款式,直接套進去就行,但我更喜歡有鞋帶的那種。

Depending on the model, they might sport long yellow laces all the way up the front and a strip of yellow rubber around the top. Sometimes we got the plain slip-on kind, but I liked the lace-up version better.

我愛把鞋帶穿過去,穿過來,穿過去,穿過來,然後在頂端繫緊,固定住連身褲或牛仔褲的褲管,讓丹寧布在膝蓋部位鼓起來。

I loved threading those laces in and out and in and out and then cinching them down tight at the top to lock the legs of my overalls or jeans in place and make the denim puff out at the knee.

PHOTO: Getty images

穿直接套入的雨靴無法保持褲管鼓脹,所以英國軍人的那種神氣也裝不了太久。

You couldn’t maintain the billowy effect with the slip-on kind, so you couldn’t look like a British soldier for very long with those.

鞋帶的唯一缺點是用久了以後塑膠尖套會脫落、帶子會分叉,然後要穿過鞋帶孔就變得很麻煩——當蒼耳、大鬼針草緊緊黏住鞋帶末端,使之成了一團刺球時,尤其麻煩。

The only drawback to the laces was that over time the plastic tip would wear off and the laces would fray. Then threading them through the eyes got to be a chore – especially when cockleburs and beggar’s lice would grab hold of the ends and make a spiky wad.

在店裏買雨靴固然不錯,但最棒的莫過於那雙靴子是放在包裝好的盒子裏。裝雨靴的盒子又大又寬,放在膝上可作小桌子。掀蓋式那種最棒,掀開時就像打開藏寶箱一樣。

Getting boots at the store was nice, but nothing was better than getting boots in a wrapped-up box. Rubber boot boxes are big. They are wide. They can double as a lap desk. The best ones have a hinged lid and open like a treasure chest.

我仍然記得有幾次耶誕節,我把神奇的大盒子放在膝上,穿過鮮艷的包裝紙飄出一股淡淡的硫化橡膠味,而我和弟弟在恭候一起打開盒子的指令。

I still remember several Christmases, putting a wonderfully wide box in my lap – with the faint scent of vulcanized rubber seeping through the bright wrapping paper – and awaiting the command for my brother and me to open our boxes together.

我們當然知道裏頭裝了什麼。我們知道盒子兩頭重側邊輕的重量分佈代表紙板藏寶箱裏藏着新靴子。有時從碎紙下方會露出一張印有雨靴圖案的大貼紙;但每一次掀開盒蓋,都會釋放出甜美的橡膠芬芳。我們會先把包裝紙摺起來,抽出塞在靴筒裏的紙板,然後把雨靴蹬在腳上。

Of course we knew what was inside. We knew the weight distribution of heavy on both ends but light on the sides meant new boots hiding in a cardboard treasure chest. Sometimes a big sticker with a picture of the boots greeted us from under the shredded paper. But every time, raising the lid released a sweet smell of rubbery goodness. We folded back that sheet of paper and pulled out the cardboard inserts before trying them on.

我喜愛雨靴光滑的內裏,還有可以扭動腳趾的空間。雨靴總有許多讓腳繼續成長的空間。你得多穿幾雙襪子。接下來一定要在房間裏、走廊上走來走去,在硬木地板上一路砰砰作響。

I loved the slick inside of the boot, and wiggling my toes around all the space in the toe. There was always plenty of space for growing feet. You just had to wear more socks. Then came the requisite walk around the room and up and down the hall, booming along on the hardwood floor.

最棒的是砰一聲關上後門,重重走下台階,撲通撲通穿過院子,到最近的爛泥坑享受自由。

Best of all was the bang of the back door, the clumping down steps, and the heavy, thunderous thunk, thunk across the yard to the nearest hole of mud and freedom.

  • shackle (v) 束縛,羈絆
  • billowy (adj) 巨浪似的
  • double as (ph) 兼作
  • vulcanized (adj)【化】經硫化的
  • wiggle (v) 扭動;擺動

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